Two per cent council tax rise agreed as Harrow Borough Council approves new budget (From Harrow Times)
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Council tax to increase by 2 per cent as new budget is approved with 34 councillors in favour
Harrow Borough Council has agreed a two per cent rise in council tax for the year from April.
The rise will increase the amount an average Band D household pays by £23.97 a year, from £1493.27 to £1513.28.
The budget also includes cuts of more than £650,000 from the street cleaning, rubbish collection and park maintenance budget and 230 staff redundancies.
Conservative group leader Councillor Susan Hall, said the she "abhorred" the cuts to the public realms budget and “could not and would not” support the budget.
The Hatch End councillor said: “All councils have a moral duty to freeze council tax during these difficult times.”
This week figures obtained by Councillor James Bond revealed a total of £4,078,040 was spent on consultants between May 2010 and September 2012.
Cllr Hall added: “Just look at how much money this council is spending on outside consultants while we are losing council officers.”
Council leader Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar said tough decisions had to be made because of a 28 per cent cut to local government funding compared to eight per cent in other departments.
He said: “Of course we would have liked to invest in the public realm but the cuts mean that we had to choose between keeping the libraries and children centres open and investing in social care instead of putting money into street cleaning.”
The council's portfolio holder for finance Cllr Sachin Shah, said this budget was for the long term and the council tax increase would plug an £8million spending gap while protecting the most vulnerable in the borough.
He added: “We are protecting those that are most in need by investing in social care and children’s services.”
The council is hoping to balance the books by 2015 by saving £75m with its new budget plan.
The plans won with a majority of 34 councillors voting in favour and 27 against.